A History of USS LST-325, 1942-2001
By Dave Bronson
Several of the pictures included here are courtesy of Stanley Barish, LST-325 Engineering Officer.
LST-325 was launched on 27 October 1942 and commissioned on 1 February
1943, with Lieutenant Ira Ehrensall the commanding officer. On February
17, during her shakedown cruise, Lt. Ehrensall was transferred to the
USS LST-391 and Ensign Clifford E. Mosier replaced him. Mosier would
remain the ship's commanding officer until June 1945. At the completion
of her shakedown cruise in and around Norfolk, Virginia the LST-325
sailed to New York, NY. From there the LST-325 left on 19 March for
Oran, Algeria following a brief stop in Bermuda.
Photo: Clifford E. Mosier using a sextant, LST-325 CO, 1943-1945
arrived in Oran on 13 April 1943 and spent the next three months going
between the ports of Arzew and Mostaganem. During this time she
practiced loading and beaching operations with various American and
English Army units. On 28 June LST-325 arrived at La Goulette in the
Bay of Tunis to prepare for Operation HUSKY, the invasion of Sicily.
On July 10 LST-325 as part of the KOOL Force (the floating reserve for the DIME Force going ashore at Gela) left Tunis, arriving in the Bay of Gela on 11 July. They remained here until the morning of the 13th before unloading the vehicles and men of the 1st Armored Division onto LCT's. They made five more trips to Sicily in support of the offensive before Messina fell on 17 August, twice bringing back loads of Italian prisoners.
Photo: Bay of Tunis, July 1943, LST-325 is loaded up for the invasion of Sicily.
6 September 1943 while in Bizerte, Tunisia four members of the crew
were injured during an air raid. On 13 September LST-325 sailed as part
of the Northern Attack Force in support of the invasion at Salerno,
Italy carrying elements of the 40th Royal Tank Regiment. Four members
of the crew and four British soldiers were injured during an attack by
German fighter-bombers as the ship entered the attack area. LST-325
made three trips to the beachhead at Salerno, the last trip carrying
members of a Ceylanese infantry regiment from Tripoli, Libya.
Photo: Unloading across pontoon causeway at Salerno, September 1943
late October 1943 LST-325 returned to Oran, leaving there on 12
November as part of a large convoy of ships for England. On 21 November
the convoy was attacked by German bombers using the new
remote-controlled glider-bombs. Several transport ships were sunk and
one passenger aboard LST-325 was severely wounded by shrapnel. LST-325
entered Plymouth, England on Thanksgiving Day, 25 November 1943.
Photo: LST 325 Crew photograph, 1944
December 1943 until May 1944 LST-325 was involved in several training
exercises along the southwestern English coast. On 5 June 1944 LST-325
sailed from Falmouth, England carrying elements of the 5th Special
Engineer Brigade. LST-325 was part of Force "B", the back-up force for
the troops going ashore at Omaha Beach on 6 June. On 7 June they
anchored off Omaha Beach and unloaded the men and vehicles onto DUKW's
Photo: Low tide on a Normandy beach, 12 June 1944
June 1944 and April 1945 LST-325 made 43 trips between England and
France, unloading at Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and the city of Rouen on
the Seine River. Twice they carried loads of ammunition from Omaha
Beach to St. Michel on the western shore of the Cotentin peninsula for
the Army besieging the port city of Brest. On 28 December 1944 the
LST-325 helped rescue over 700 men from the troop transport Empire
Javelin that had been torpedoed off the coast of France. Lt. Comdr.
Mosier was awarded the Bronze Star for this rescue.
Photo: German P.O.W.s disembarking. Courtesy of Stan Barish.
11 May 1945 LST-325 sailed with a convoy from Belfast, Ireland to
return to the United States. One day out from Belfast the convoy was
hit by a terrific storm and scattered. LST-325 slammed bow first into a
monstrous wave and a crack developed across the main deck. Ship fitters
were able to save the ship by welding steel plates across the damaged
hull. Blessed by fair weather the rest of the way LST-325 sailed into
Norfolk, Virginia on 31 May 1945.
From Norfolk LST-325 sailed to the shipyards in New Orleans, Louisiana. There the damage caused by the storm was repaired and the ship was fitted with the "Brodie" equipment, a system used for launching and retrieving light observation aircraft from an LST. The ship went on a shakedown cruise in August 1945 to test this new gear. The day before the ship was to sail to the Pacific the news came that Japan had surrendered and the war was finally over. After a trip to Panama in late September, LST-325 was sent to Green Cove Springs, Florida and decommissioned on 2 July 1946.
Photo: LST-325 on St. Johns River, Florida with Brodie Gear installed, 1945
was reactivated in 1951 for service in Military Sea Transport Service
arctic operations. She was involved in Operation SUNAC (Support of
North Atlantic Construction) in the Labrador Sea, David Strait and
Baffin Bay in 1951-52. This operation was involved in constructing
radar outposts along the coast of eastern Canada and Greenland. In 1961
LST-325 was again taken out of service and became part of the National
Defense Reserve Fleet.
Photo: In MSTS, designated USNS LST-325, docked for unloading Kulusuk, East Greenland, 1960-61
was again reactivated in 1963 and transferred to Greece in May 1964.
Named Syros (L-144) she served in the Greek Navy until December 1999
when she was decommissioned for the third time. In 2000 she was
acquired by The USS Ship Memorial, Inc., and sailed back across the
Atlantic for the final time, arriving in Mobile, Alabama on 10 January
2001. One of only two World War II LSTs to be preserved in the United
States, LST-325 is currently docked in Evansville, In. She has become a
museum and memorial ship to the men who bravely
served their country aboard LSTs.
Photo: USS LST 325 sailing down the Ohio River in Wheeling, WV., 2010
Dave Bronson is the son of James Bronson, MoMM1, LST-325, 1943-1945 (shown at right). Long before LST-325 was chosen as the LST Memorial Ship, Dave had begun compiling research materials on the ship's and crew's histories. In 1999, he assembled together with several of his Dad's shipmates; at that time, he conceived the idea of compiling his work into a book for the ship's "family," in time for another reunion in 2001, to be held in conjunction with the national LST reunion being held the same year in Mobile, AL. Imagine his surprise when the LST-325 was ultimately chosen! Suddenly, his knowledge and expertise is in great demand. We're thankful that he took time away from his book to make this excellent contribution to the website and to the public. Look for his book at the reunion in Mobile.
Thank you Dave, and Bravo Zulu!
James Bronson, MoMM1,
also authored an excellent series of articles for the 60th Anniversary
of the D-Day Invasion. In monthly installments, he detailed
LST-325's preparations for, and participation in, that historic
invasion. You can view this illustrated recount of events
just by clicking here:
The Way It Was: December 1943
The Way It Was: January 1944
The Way It Was: February 1944
The Way it Was: March 1944
The Way It Was: April 1944
The Way It Was: May 1944
The Way It Was: Early June 1944
Dave has been involved with the ship since its arrival. He has not only provided this series, but he has also served on our Steering Committeee, wrote the ship's history for the website, and most recently he has published a definite and interesting history of the ship, "Mosier's Raider's: The History of the LST-325". That book is now available in our Gift Shop and on our website.
Dave now literally walks in his father's footsteps aboard LST-325. And he does so with the same honor and sense of dedication. Thank you Dave!
PLEASE NOTE: All pictures are copyrighted by their respective photographers, most notably Stan Barish and Ted Duning. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without prior permission. To obtain permission, you can contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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